Flintoff takes 200th wicket as England toil

Published: Thursday, July 31, 2008, 21:30 [IST]
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Andrew Flintoff took his 200th Test wicket as England tried to claw their way back into contention on the second day of the third Test against South Africa at Edgbaston Thursday.

South Africa were 205 for four at tea in reply to England's 231 all out.

Flintoff dismissed top-scorer Neil McKenzie for 72 to become only the second Englishman after Ian Botham to score more than 2000 runs and take 200 wickets in Tests.

At that stage South Africa were 135 for four and another wicket might have brought the game close to parity. But Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince shared an unbeaten 70-run stand to keep South Africa on top.

Kallis, who scored only 24 runs in his first three innings in the series, was unbeaten on 48 at tea. He was not entirely convincing, with two successive boundaries scored off the edge against yorker-length balls.

On 37 an attempted forcing shot off Paul Collingwood deflected onto the thigh of wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose.

The left-handed Prince, who made centuries in the drawn first Test at Lord's and in South Africa's ten-wicket win in Leeds, took 18 balls to score his first run but was on 24 not out.

He batted confidently but twice scored boundaries off edges through a vacant slip area.

Flintoff and James Anderson both toiled hard but Ryan Sidebottom, who missed the second Test because of injury, bowled only four overs during an extended afternoon session.

England's day started frustratingly when McKenzie and nightwatchman Paul Harris defied the England bowlers until 15 minutes before lunch on a rain-shortened morning, putting on 77 for the second wicket.

Harris, who started batting Wednesday evening after the dismissal of South African captain Graeme Smith, batted for 89 minutes and faced 54 balls before he edged Sidebottom to Alastair Cook at third slip after scoring 19.

McKenzie survived a referral to the third umpire when he had 29.

McKenzie edged Flintoff low to first slip. Andrew Strauss scooped up the ball but while his teammates celebrated he indicated he was not certain the ball had carried.

The decision was referred to television umpire Ian Gould who confirmed the ball had bounced as it reached the fielder.

McKenzie went on to reach his half-century shortly before lunch after facing 100 balls and hitting eight fours.

He eventually fell to Flintoff immediately after hitting the England all-rounder for two successive boundaries, a pull and an off-drive. But he played a rare loose shot across the line and was leg before wicket when Flintoff angled the next delivery in to him.

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